Clingy Avery Rio and Ravishing Cole Joseph

The rain really put a damper on our plans for the weekend. We were limited to the indoors, also known as Pearlridge and Windward Mall. There’s also been a lot of baseball stuff going on, and I don’t like to talk about it because I’m a psychopath, but yeah, it’s happening and dude, I am stoked. We don’t have a whole lot going on, so you’ll have to settle for an update on the twins’ recent behavioral changes.

1Avery doesn’t like me. Well, I don’t know if that’s specifically true, but it’s pretty clear I am not even an acceptable replacement for Lynnette. If Lynnette hands Avery off to me in public, Avery arches her back and starts screaming. Since she’s built like a sack of potatoes (and twice as heavy), it can be kind of a task to wrangle her when she’s upset like that. In fact, the only time when she actually wanted me to scoop her up today was when she got herself into an undesirable spot on the playground. Otherwise, nope. Avery hates the stroller and shopping carts, so Lynnette has to Ergo her everywhere. Today at Chef Zone, Avery thought it was the coolest (yes, intended) thing ever when Lynnette packed her in the insulated jacket so we could explore the Chill Zone.

2Over the last two days – for reasons known only to him – Cole has begun to recline by lifting his arms and placing both hands behind his head. It is hilarious, but it’s also exactly what I (and my dad and brother Matty) look like when I sit on the couch while I watch TV. He doesn’t always do it. Last night he did it while lying on the hardwood floor of my parents’ house. He hasn’t done it in bed. I don’t know how he decides. But, as a wrestling fan, I call it the Rick Rude, but without the swiveling, thank God. Today, he broke out his new signature pose out on the way home from Baldwin’s and Rainbow Tea House. He started getting loud as soon as he saw Madison’s cup and didn’t stop until he had his fill of Madison’s cherry/watermelon shave ice. Then, this.

Hopefully the weather will clear up this week and next weekend. And also that the baseball stuff works out, too.

Fourth Time’s a Charm: Homemade Slime

Madison-Speak is a collection of thinly-veiled hints at a desired object, outcome, etc. which one or more parents or guardians must suffer through before Madison finishes beating around several bushes. Over the last few months, Madison repeatedly mentioned homemade slime in the following ways:

“We learned how to make slime in school today.”
“Did you know that you use borax to make slime?”
“You know, the slime’s not sticky, mom.”
“Some kids were getting burned by the borax when making their slime.”
“There are other ways to make slime without borax.”
“Did you know there’s a way to make slime with just baking soda, glue, and contact lens solution guys?”

and finally,

*sighs* “I wish I could make homemade slime.” *sighs*

It was a masterful performance worthy of her mother. So we did try to make slime. Three times. We failed all three times.

Attempt 1 “Old Glue”: We followed a recipe on the internet which called for the use of glue, laundry detergent, and baking soda. The “slime” got thick, but never reached the consistency as shown in the how-to videos. “That’s old glue,” Lynnette said when Madison and I voiced our disappointment. “That glue is from like… when Madison was in Kindergarten,” Lynnette continued. She didn’t help, only criticize, but that’s how she rolls.

Attempt 2 “We Should Have Known Better”: Lynnette believes I am incapable of following instructions of any kind so she decided to show me up by making the slime with Madison. Since Attempt 1 was an utter fiasco, we called on the internet again for an alternative recipe. The girls mixed body wash, shampoo, and salt, then put the mixture into the freezer for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, Madison was playing with cold, salty shampoo on our dinner table.

Attempt 3 “I Might Be the Only One in My Family Who Understands What ‘Reputable Website’ Is”: I don’t even know what kind of website Lynnette and Madison unearthed this last recipe from, but it was somehow even worse than the one in Attempt 2. Madison and Lynnette mixed water, cornstarch, and food coloring in another attempt to make slime and all they did was make dirty dishes. The crazy thing is, Lynnette can cook! She knows what mixing these things does!

1I ran some errands today and for some reason (Madison’s classical conditioning!) thought of Madison’s slime. I went to look for not old glue and found an empty shelf. Above it were boxes of baking soda and food coloring. On the lowest shelf, a sign gave the recipe (in exact measurements!) of the homemade slime. I went to Target, Walmart Kapolei, and Longs Kapolei before finding not old glue at the Kunia Walmart. I bought two handfuls of glue and told Madison about it when she got home. She finished her homework before we started.

Attempt 4 “I Can Frickin’ Follow Instructions, K, Lynnette?!”: I used two bottles of glue and one tablespoon of baking soda. Then, Mad added food coloring to her liking. Finally, we mixed in 1.5 tablespoons of contact lens solution. Once the solution hit the mix, the texture hardened immediately. After mixing it into a slime and finding the surface still tacky, we mixed in another half tablespoon of lens solution and it was perfect.

Lessons Learned:

For Madison: Just get to the point, already.
For Lynnette: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, even if you have two degrees.
For Philip: Even if you totally understand the passive-aggressive language of the females living in your house, make them come out and say it anyway because that in and of itself is a small victory and likely the only kind you are allowed.

Easter Weekend 2017

We ate a lot of food on Satuday with the Higa side of our family. Then, we did the same thing with the Pascua side of the family on Sunday. Between those two family feasts, however, Lynnette, Madison and I went on a twilight tour at the Honolulu Zoo.

25We met up with Lynnette’s friends and their children for something resembling a field trip featuring zoo animals but also sadly a bunch of mosquitoes.

Madison loves going on trips like this where she can play with children closer to her own age. Though she very rarely complains openly about the twins, Lynnette and I have noticed that Mad appears burned out by the constant attention that twins or random twin-related quests require. I suppose the irony is that she never stops being the big sister. By nature or timing, she is almost always the oldest child present at our get-togethers with out friends and family, much the same was I was. To watch her with our friends’ children makes me feel like maybe I don’t give her enough credit for being a fantastic girl in her own right.

I always see her as a 5 or 6 year old. But she’s as old now as I was when I started playing baseball. She’s not a baby, a toddler. She’s not a teenager or even a tween. But she’s not my little girl and if I’m being honest, that’s very, very difficult for me to accept. Whenever she defies me or makes incredibly boneheaded decisions, I wonder if anything I did mattered. But then I see the way she is with younger kids and I know some of it must have.

3A bird took a dump on Madison’s hand and that I didn’t see it happen killed me. Lynnette was already in the process of cleaning her up when I got my phone out, so this is the best shot I have: Madison inspecting the back of her hand for any remnants of bird feces. “Was that your first time?” I asked her. “Yeah,” she said. “And?” I asked. “It was gross, but not too bad,” I said. “Well, you’re in the club, now,” I said, reminding her that a bird dropped a bomb on me at the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens. “What about mom?” Mad asked. Lynnette’s actually in the club, too. Back in 2003, some nasty pigeon nailed Lynnette, forcing her to purchase a new top to wear at Ala Moana where she was meeting up with me and some of my co-workers after the ACCE conference. Madison joining the club was a truly wonderful event. I can’t wait until Cole and Avery join. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they joined at the same time? How crazy would that be? Why do I care so much about birds annihilating our family with doots? I don’t know. I never thought I would. And those two statements sum up my entire adult life.

4A few minutes into our stop at the lion exhibit, the female lion attacked the male lion out of nowhere. She just ran at him, jumped, and bit into his mane. It elicited startled gasps from people in our group, but Seconds later, the male lion was licking the female lion in the back. Once it became clear the attack wasn’t serious, a kind of giggling filtered through the adults in tour group, like we were all thinking the same thing. “Scratch my back,” Lynnette said, mimicking our own version of this very series of events. What followed was one of the coolest and funniest things I’ve ever seen: adults rampantly speculating on the behavior of animals based on their own experiences in romantic relationships.

“Why did she do that?” a woman said.
“Probably for something he did two weeks ago,” her husband said.
She smirked!

“She can’t be letting him get all the attention!” another woman said.
“But he’s the king, though,” her husband said.
She made the pfffftttt noise!

Lynnette and her friend Christine had a pretended conversation in which they both took on lower male voices and apologized to each other profusely. Maybe it was a female fantasy? I can’t possibly hold it against them because one of my deepest fantasies is living in a world where Lynnette and Madison apologize when they’re wrong.

Our tour group left right as the lions began engaging in some kind of … athletic exercises as pictured above. I was one of the last few people taking pictures at the glass along with a mother and her young daughter. The woman had positioned her daughter in front of the exhibit to catch the lions in the background. I think she snapped one picture before lowering her phone and saying “We should go. This is about to get… too educational,” I chuckled and she laughed back.


This was the first time in my many visits to the zoo that I saw the lions. Personally, it was breathtaking. I admitted to one of our tour guides that I had given up hope of ever seeing them, and often wondered if there were lions there at all. Yet here they were, in all their glory. As the light ebbed in the sky, the male lion’s roar seemed to intensify. I could hear it from all over the zoo. I was in awe. This, too, is my adult life. Since I have become a parent, I have done so many things I never imagined, and even more since the twins were born. That’s life’s trick. It lulls you into this routine that has a monotonous flavor of the mundane. But then once in a while – and always by surprise – it throws you things that completely blow you away. Mine are named Madison, Cole, and Avery.

The Worst Conversation I’ve Ever Heard is Proof that Madison is Lynnette 2.0

I was driving the van on Ward Avenue when it happened. The blinker ticked as I waited to make that left turn onto the street behind Straub and the HPD headquarters.

1

Li hing pineapple w/orange sorbet from Piggy Smalls

2

Vanilla bean gelato from Pa’ina Cafe

Madison looked at the hands painted along the wooden wall surrounding Thomas Square.

“Those hands say ‘welcome’,” Madison said.
Cole fussed. “That boy needs a fidget spinner,” Lynnette said.
“Huh?” Madison said.
“Huh?” Lynnette said.
“Huh?” Madison said.
“Nothing,” Lynnette said.

“OH MY GOD!” I said. Lynnette was already laughing.
“That was the worst conversation I’ve ever heard!” I said.
“Why, what?” Lynnette said through giggles.
“YOU GUYS ARE THE SAME PERSON BECAUSE NEITHER OF YOU LISTEN TO ANYONE BUT YOURSELVES!” I said.
“What?” Madison said.

Lynnette laughed. I would have thrown myself from the van if I could have. But nothing would have changed. Both Lynnette and Madison would have gone on eating their fancy desserts from their fancy eateries without even noticing. Until someone honked at them to get it moving.

Avery at 17 Months

1

About to hit that Bray Wyatt spider walk.

Avery spent her 17th month-day running between her room and the living room as she usually does. She’s a bowling ball with the force of the Juggernaut but the stature of Puck. She rumbles around the play area seemingly like a runaway truck that’s a single tire blowout away from crashing into the side of the couch or baby gate. It’s a simple pleasure to watch her “sprint” from the twins’ room when Lynnette asks the house “Who’s hungry?”

She’s pictured here engaged in one of her favorite activities. She loves being tilted upside down. When we pull her back up, she jerks her head back immediately. She screams with laughter if there’s somebody waiting to tickle her wattle. It’s her weak spot, just like big sister.

2Avery’s special skill, however, is crying. In North Shore, an ’80s surfing movie set on Oahu’s north shore, Chandler – the mentor figure to Rick Kane’s protagonist – explains to Rick that just as Eskimos have hundreds of different words for snow and ice conditions, ancient Hawaiians have just as many words for surf and ocean conditions. I don’t know if that’s technically true, but it makes sense. Both cultures literally revolved around those respective forces of nature.

Similarly, Avery has just as many fake cries. She has the “I’m not getting my way” cry which she belts out while kneeling in a dramatic fashion like some of the characters in the crash scene in the pilot of Lost. There’s also the “I’m hungry, you guys!” cry which is lower in pitch but more consistent. I would guess this is what actual hunger sounds. She’s also got the “Take pity on me and carry me around the house for a while” cry which is a guilt trip rolled up in a farcical combination of physical histrionics. She rolls all over the floor. She kicks both legs. She pushes herself upwards with her feet. Yet this isn’t even the best of her moves. Nope.

Avery is a tubby, funny hero, much like Moana‘s Maui. She took transforms into a huge bird of prey – except she descends on Cole to steal his toy. Instead of scurrying off, though, she waits around for Cole to start crying. Then, she opens her mouth wide and fake cries – it sounds more like a police siren – to mock him. This instinct is so ingrained in her personality that she did it by accident on Saturday. We were eating lunch at Wendy’s and another child began crying. Without thinking, Avery’s jaw dropped and she let out her whooping mock cry. It only lasted for a few moments, however, as she turned her head to find Cole wasn’t the one crying. She closed her mouth and resumed eating.

Cole at 17 Months

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Hitting the Randy Orton

Cole Joseph is 17 months old today. He knows a handful of words now, but the one he uses most frequently and appropriately is “no”, or more precisely, “nah”.  I suppose this is cosmic justice. It appears the boy is taking on every single one of my traits and behaviors.

This morning I let him borrow my glasses. He put them around his face, then his neck. “Can I get those back?” I asked. He didn’t reply. “Cole Boy, can Daddy have those?” I said. “Nah!” he said, shaking his head side-to-side. He ran off into the his room and cornered himself in the same spot he always does, under the window, between the cabinet and Avery’s crib.

My dad set up the pool for the three kids this afternoon and after about 15 minutes Cole started shivering. “Cole, out-out?” I asked. “Nah-nah!” he shouted at me through chattering teeth. He screamed at me when I finally did pull him from the water. He’s still a water baby.

8

Talking to himself, probably.

Cole is a joy to be with. He’s been a great playmate over the past few weeks, seeking me out each afternoon for some roughhousing. He likes to be lifted upside down. He can be clingy, unreasonably fussy, and excessively territorial over Lynnette. Like I said, he’s inheriting ALL of them.

I gave Cole M&Ms for the first time on Friday. He fell in love with them immediately; he went so far as to sign for “more”, something we’ve encouraged him to do. But he doesn’t do it. He saves it for things he really loves, like being lifted upside down; food he really likes but hasn’t eaten in a long time; sweet snacks; and fruit that simply isn’t getting onto his plate or into his hands quick enough. Not only did he sign for M&M’s. When Madison left the play area to get more, Cole followed her to the gate and reached over it. “Ma-Mad!” he shouted. That’s what he calls Madison. He stuck his right arm high into the air and raised his pointer finger, as if to say “One more!” He’s just one step away from shouting “Fo’ da boiz!” and completely becoming Phil Jr.

9 and 37

Madison and I had a wonderful birthday.

2Lynnette was a one-woman birthday part committee yesterday and started the morning by driving off to procure some Koa Pancake House for breakfast. I shared my strawberry crepes with Avery and Cole who both seemed to prefer their usual Cocoa Puffs and fruit. I tried not to overeat because I knew we were headed to 100 Sails for dinner. I don’t know if I can call that discipline if the only reason I was disciplined was so that I could be undisciplined later.

1This ended up being the picture of the day. Madison wanted to go to iTrampoline for her birthday, so that’s what we did. Lynnette took the twins on a couple of errands while Mad and I (mostly Madison) bounced for an hour. When Lynnette popped in with the twins, she stood with Avery in front of an industrial fan. So good!

I’m so proud of Madison. The first two times we went to iTrampline she was hesitant, probably because she was too young to try anything risky. Also, I don’t remember that they had this airbag the last time we were there. It instantly became Mad’s favorite area of the warehouse. You can see in the first couple of tries how her body simply won’t let her flip. But once she finally gets it, it’s easy. As for me, I spent less than five minutes actively bouncing. I could feel the strain on my knees and ankles as they tried to compensate for the momentum added to my already inconvenient weight. I stand by my decision; EMTs actually showed up for an adult who had injured her leg. Athlete Phil (who is caged deep inside of me alongside Party Phil) always thinks he can do whatever he wants. 37-year old Phil knows better.

3My family hooked me up with a Food Saver for my birthday. I’m pretty excited. I’ll probably get some steaks to marinate this afternoon so I have dinner for tomorrow night. Madison made me a special birthday card that was supposed to be a “howler” – those talking cards from the Harry Potter series. It was pretty cool. “I made that in February,” she told me when I thanked her for it. I wanted to make a comment about approaching her school work with such foresight and enthusiasm but, eh, it was her birthday, too.

5I didn’t eat for 7 hours in anticipation of dinner and my performance was disappointing. By my estimate, I ate 6 crab legs, 12 pieces of ahi nigiri, 15 pieces of ahi sashimi, and 6 handrolls. Obviously, I ate my money’s worth, but I was stunned at how quickly I began to slow down. There was a point in the middle of our third servings when Lynnette and I looked at each other. “I think this is it,” I said. “Me too,” she said. “This is terrible!” I said. If gaining weight by eating less food is what it means to get older, I don’t want it. Speaking of getting older…

6There was a prom happening ont he same floor as the restaurant. Lynnette told me that she had the following conversation with Madison on their way to the bathroom.

“What’s a prom?” Madison asked.
“It’s a party for high schoolers,” Lynnette said.
“What is it for?” Madison asked.
“So they can eat and sing and dance and have a good time with their friends,” Lynnette said.

When we got back to the van, Madison said that Lynnette told her the cops were at the prom to make sure no one drinks alcohol or makes out.

“What’s making out?” I asked.
“It’s when people kiss like you and mom,” Mad said.
“Oh. How did you learn about making out?” I asked.”
Law and Order,” Madison said.

I laughed so hard and for so long I was legitimately afraid I would throw up.


Thank you for all the birthday wishes! Madison and I had a great day.